The Government of Saint Lucia Receives Continued Funding Support for Community Tourism Projects from the CARICOM Development Fund

The Government of Saint Lucia is pleased to announce the receipt of further funding from the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) for community tourism initiatives across the island. The signing ceremony, held on Wednesday, March 6th, 2024, at the Finance Administrative Center, solidifies the ongoing collaboration and commitment of both parties to fostering sustainable development and inclusive growth within the tourism sector.

In this round of funding the CARICOM Development Fund has allocated a total of USD $2,343,907.60 to support various community-driven tourism projects in Saint Lucia. This is in addition to USD $4,685,663.00 of Grant and Concessionary Loan financing provided in 2020. These resources are all in support of highlighting the Unique Selling Propositions of the island’s rich cultural heritage, enhancing visitor experiences, and creating economic opportunities for local communities.

Expressing gratitude for the continued partnership, the Honorable Dr. Ernest Hilaire, Minister of Tourism, remarked, “We are thankful to the CARICOM Development Fund for their unwavering support in advancing our community tourism initiatives. This funding will empower us to further develop our tourism products, bolster local entrepreneurship and promote sustainable tourism practices.”

Prime Minister, Hon. Philip J. Pierre emphasized the importance of inclusive tourism development, stating, “It has always been my position that the benefits of tourism should accrue to everyone. I want to congratulate Hon. Dr. Ernest Hilaire and the Ministry for Tourism for putting together these projects that will not only substantially improve our tourism product but will also benefit our people. We welcome the CARICOM Development Fund as partners in this venture, which we hope will be executed in a transparent and efficient manner.”

Chief Executive Officer of the CARICOM Development Fund, Mr. Rodinald Soomer, lauded the community tourism programme, noting that it encourages higher levels of direct first-round spending by visitors in target communities, that would generate a positive multiplier effect by creating new livelihood opportunities for small businesses and households, as opposed to only ‘trickle down’ benefits of tourism accruing to these communities.

The first round of funding was targeted at Gros Islet, Anse La Raye and Soufriere. This second round of funding will be utilized to support a range of community-based projects in Micoud, Castries and Dennery. These projects include the Sea Moss Experience in Praslin, the revitalization of the Dennery Fish Fiesta, the reconstruction of the Morne Lay By, and the Martyrs’ Shrine – the first religious tourism initiative with the Archdiocese. These initiatives aim to enhance the visitor experience and also contribute to the preservation of Saint Lucia’s natural and cultural assets.

Local communities, community groups and associations, and non-governmental organizations are encouraged to actively participate in the implementation of these projects, which seek to foster a sense of ownership and empowerment among stakeholders.

As Saint Lucia navigates the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the government remains committed to collaborating with partners and leveraging resources to support the resilience and sustainability of the local tourism industry. The ongoing collaboration with the CARICOM Development Fund exemplifies this commitment and reinforces the shared vision of creating a more resilient and prosperous future for all.

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